Tag Archives: Too $hort


I don’t know why, but today I inflicted the Rolling Stone “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” list on myself, in its entirety.  I know that “Greatest of All Time” lists are inherently dumb, and complaining about them is even dumber, but this particular one seems so especially dumb that I think it might not be excruciatingly dumb to criticize it, as long as I can keep it short and un-ranty.  So I’ll put aside as many personal biases that I can and try to actually play by the guidelines of a list like this.  These kinds of lists measure things like historical significance and cultural impact, and they worship “firsts”.  “Great” in the sense it’s used here isn’t an extreme form of “good”, it’s an attempt at objectivity about something inherently subjective by looking at factors like a song’s sales, chart positions, and the population’s general familiarity with it.  Framed in this way, it’s easy to see why lists like this are dumb, because those things aren’t what’s actually interesting about music.  But this list doesn’t even follow through on that flimsy objective.  It is unsurprisingly biased towards old guard “Golden Age” sensibilities, and yet still finds ways to overlook many obvious old school contenders as well.  Hardly any of my personal favorite songs are on that list, which is to be expected, but there are so many truly relevant-to-our-culture artists, songs, and movements that aren’t even touched on that I think it would be worthwhile to create a new list in response:

DRIVE SLOW’s Top 15 Artists Somehow Completely Ignored by Rolling Stone’s “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” List

1.  Too $hort

2.  Lil’ Wayne (or anyone from Cash Money)

3.  TI

4.  Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

5.  Gang Starr

6.  Goodie Mob

7.  Slick Rick

8.  Ludacris

9.  Gucci Mane

10.  Three-6 Mafia

11.  DJ Quik

12.  E-40

13.  Nate Dogg

14.  Ice T

15.  2 Live Crew

But nobody really reads Rolling Stone anymore anyway right?

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When I first saw that this video was out, my reaction was: “wait wait — MORE “Freaky Tales“??”  Too $hort’s been workin’ this concept for over 20 years now, and while $hort is proven himself to be able to sustain his original rap style for a weirdly long period of time with continuing success, I was still surprised to see him jump back into this series after all this time.  Needless to say, I was really excited.  I love how true to himself he’s stayed over the decades, never compromising for anybody or anything, and continuing to make awesome music and command the respect of pretty much everybody in the rap community the whole time.  Too $hort is a great example of the kind of artist I talked about in my previous post, the kind that understands that it isn’t his job to be an upstanding moral character for the youth of America.  He tells the story of the streets he knows, and for the people that live in that environment he’s lived in, his stories have resonance.

As it turns out, this is actually not exactly a continuation of the “Freaky Tales” ethos, it’s a remake of the original “Freaky Tales” from the 80s, but cut down by about 2/3 and has Snoop (who maybe should have gone by “Too Tall” for this video) rapping half of the time.  I can’t pretend like I wasn’t still captivated the whole time though, who wears a Langston University T-shirt with no chains on in a rap video in 2012?  And where does Snoop do his flannel shopping?  Damn!

Too $hort – Freaky Tales (feat. Snoop Dogg)

Anybody else notice the “Clicc Here To…” link at the top of that video at the beginning?  It’s pretty crazy that Snoop is still keepin’ up with all the old traditions after all these years.  I guess he’s not the only one, though.

I first heard about “Freaky Tales” back when I first discovered Too $hort’s super early material a few years ago, and if you want a complete breakdown of the “Freaky Tales” saga, with full versions of all the songs included, check out Andrew Noz’s in-depth research.  And if you wanna see the man himself lay out the history of the original track, you have to watch this interview which clearly happened on the same day that video shoot did.

I had no idea ’til I saw this that Too $hort was producing that shit too, I wonder if he produced the stuff I put up in this post a while back too?  Wouldn’t be surprised.  Keep it up, $hort.

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Ok, now that you’ve had a little time to absorb all that old school flavor from yesterday, here’s the continuation.

This track is reeeal dirty, especially for a New York rapper from the mid-80s.  I might expect some shit like this from Too $hort or somebody like that, but I feel like the east coast is a little more timid to go this far on record, but Just-Ice fuckin goes there.

Just-Ice – That Girl is a Slut

The most obvious track to bring up in relation to this track is Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di” (yes, the inspiration for Snoop and Dre’s “Lodi Dodi“) which it seems came out just a little before the Just-Ice track did.  But what’s especially exciting for me is knowing where the drums came from on this track from the great King Geedorah.

King Geedorah – The Fine Print

Yeahhh, 2/3 slow, 1/3 amazing.  That’s a formula I can get behind.

And if you just can’t get enough Just-Ice-inspired music, here’s a Redman track that reworks the song that got all this started in the first place.

Redman – It’s Like That (feat. K-Solo)

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I’ve now spent 12 full hours in San Francisco, and it’s already been super magical.  I saw a blimp, ate a homemade pickle, and discovered the most badass ice cream flavor name of all time; it’s called Jesus Juice and it’s red wine and Coca-Cola flavored, and tastes fucking awesome.  I can’t wait to see what else this weird place has in store for me.

So in honor San Fransisco and its deep-rooted, well-executed, and heart-warming strangeness, I thought I should send a shout out to the dude that started SF Bay rap back in the early 80s: Too $hort.  He’s been rapping for about 30 years now, and definitely has a style of his own that he’s stayed true to this whole time.  You’ve probably heard plenty of his tunes over the years, but I’ve really got a soft spot for his super early cassette-released stuff from the early-mid 80s, there’s just something very special about it, and being here and seeing how things work around this place, I feel more than ever that his sound could only have originated in the Bay Area.  Keep it rockin’ Too $hort, don’t stop rappin’!

Too $hort – Coke Dealers

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